I was mad all day about nothing. I woke up to a messy kitchen after going to bed before my kids the night before. My workout got interrupted to pick up one of them. We had to drive 40 minutes to a basketball game...for our 6th grade daughter...at 5:00 on a Saturday night. I was on Day 30 of the 80 Day obsession and all I wanted was pizza...and cheeseburgers...and cheesecake. Poor...pitiful...me.
Did I want to drink over it? NO.
Did it threaten my serenity? YES!
Did I make a gratitude list? NOPE.
Did I reach out to someone? NOPE.
Did I pray about it? NOPE.
I just wanted to marinate in my self pity. But God said, “not today.” I remembered one of my first lessons in recovery:
“Self-pity is just another form of selfishness.”
I knew the only way to get out of my own head was to put someone else in there.
Did I want to? NO.
Did I seek it out? NO.
Three, yes 3! strangers reached out to me in one day via Insta. Did I want to interact?! NOPE. But, by the grace of God, I responded to all three. And you know what happened? My mood changed, my spirits lifted, I was reminded of my blessings, I made a new friend, and I shared a laugh with another.
First, a strong woman reached out to ask for help. She reminded me of myself so many desperate mornings when I’d wake wondering, “how did I fail...again?” She reminded me of myself as I’d pledge that “today would be different.” She reminded me of the few times when I felt helpless enough to actually reach out. My heart broke for her because I remember it all. Loneliness. Hopelessness. I call her strong not because of her extended length of sobriety. No, she’s strong because she’s still actively drinking and knows she can’t stop. She not only recognizes she has a problem, she admits she needs help to overcome it.
Then, on this terrible, no good, very bad day, God used Instagram (He can do anything) to connect me to a sober sister, (formerly known as “a complete stranger,” now known as @sobersis) who is working with women pursuing a sober mindset. She opened my eyes to this growing population who haven’t yet lost anything, but are battling internally with the what ifs of their own drinking habits. Not only did she open my eyes to a new perspective, but she also opened my ears. She asked to talk on the phone! I hate to talk on the phone!! But it was so, so good for my soul to hear a friendly voice, a sister’s words, a different view, a new laugh.
And then later that night, I found myself messaging with yet another stranger (new friend, aka @allforhim17) about the growing publicity movement promoting alcohol as the miracle elixir to all of life’s problems. Whether it’s “Wine o’Clock Somewhere,” (on a cropped spring break tee), “I’m the Reason Mommy Drinks,” (cute for a newborn onesie, right?!) or “There Might be Vodka in This Coffee Mug,” (insert photo of manicured hand holding thermos at kids’ lacrosse tourney), our kids (and at-risk adults), are being told it’s glamorous, therapeutic, even “cute,” to numb feelings in an effort to escape life’s hard times. But that’s another post…
For a few hours of my “miserable” day, I was talking to people about my own past, being reminded of my own mistakes, how bad things were. But more importantly, I had to relive how far I’d come. I was faced once again with the realization that I’d been rescued. What had caused me to get help with my drinking? What made me finally acknowledge I had an issue? And why in the world had I not only pursued, but actually followed through with a plan for recovery?!
Why share all of this? Sobriety isn’t always easy, or pretty, or comfortable. Life is still real, and hard, and unfair sometimes. I still feel feelings I don’t like. I still feel sorry for myself over stupid things, I still compare my journey to others (along with my outfits, my party planning, my vacations, my Insta feed, etc). I still question my parenting, my wife-ing, my friend-ing. But now, I don’t have to drink to cope with the negative.
I have a newer, fancier tool kit (the DELUXE model) to help me repair tough situations. I have a smarter crew of experienced people to advise me when I encounter things I don’t like and to help me navigate days that feel impossible. I have a clear mind that sees when my serenity is at risk. I’m more aware of my own character defects and the situations that threaten my inner peace. But most importantly, I have a God who reminds me I was never meant to go through this alone. Not only is He with me all the time, but so are many others with this disease, who were also created to live, and love, and grow, and heal together.
Being stuck in my own head...alone with my thoughts...kept me drinking for many years. While I don’t feel tempted to drink now, I recognize that “going there,” is dangerous for my emotional health. My sobriety is more than just living alcohol free. It’s living my whole life free. How I interact with and treat others, the way I live daily, what I feel and believe about myself - they’re are all impacted by my daily choice not to drink. I want to be, need to be, the healthiest version of who God created me to be- free from shame, guilt and self-doubt. So on the days I’m not feelin’ it, when I don’t want to get out the tool box or request a personal consult, I’m thankful for a God who intervenes with exactly what I need, at the exactly the perfect time, always.
Authors - Various